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An Open-Source Continuum Model for Anion-Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis


Anion-exchange membrane (AEM) electrolysis has the potential to produce green hydrogen at low cost by combining the advantages of conventional alkaline electrolysis and proton-exchange membrane electrolysis. The alkaline environment in AEM electrolysis enables the use of less expensive catalysts such as nickel, whereas the use of a solid polymer electrolyte enables differential pressure operation. Recent advancements in AEM performance and lifetime have spurred interest in AEM electrolysis, but many open research areas remain, such as understanding the impacts of water transport in the membrane and salt content in the electrolyte on cell performance and degradation. Furthermore, integrating electrolyser systems into renewable energy grids necessitates dynamic operation of the electrolyser cell, which introduces additional challenges. Computational modelling of AEM electrolysis is ideally suited to tackle many of these open questions by providing insight into the transport processes and electrochemical reactions occurring in the cell under dynamic conditions.
In this work, an open-source, transient continuum modelling framework for anion-exchange membrane (AEM) electrolysis is presented and applied to study electrolyzer cell dynamic performance. The one-dimensional cell model contains coupled equations for multiphase flow in the porous transport layers, a parameterized solution property model for potassium hydroxide electrolytes, and coupled ion and water transport equations to account for water activity gradients within the AEM. The model is validated with experimental results from an AEM electrolyser cell. We find that pH gradients develop within the electrolyte due to the production and consumption of hydroxide, which can lead to voltage losses and cell degradation. The influence of these pH gradients on potential catalyst dissolution mechanisms is explored and discussed. Finally, initial studies of transient operation will be presented.

This work has been performed in the frame of the CHANNEL project. This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (now Clean Hydrogen Partnership) under grant agreement No 875088. This Joint undertaking receives support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research. Some of this work has been performed within the MODELYS project "Electrolyzer 2030 – Cell and stack designs" financially supported by the Research Council of Norway under project number 326809.




  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 326809





  • SINTEF Industry / Sustainable Energy Technology
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Unknown

Presented at

243rd ECS Meeting with the 18th Symposium on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC-XVIII)


Boston, MA, USA


29.05.2023 - 02.06.2023


Electrochemical Society



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